This is the “Memphis Gun Shirt.” I first saw it at Cooper-Young Festival a few years ago, and a couple of my friends own them because I guess they think it’s funny.
Me, I’m not so sure.
One of the things I love about Memphis is the survivalist attitude. This city catches a lot of bad breaks. High unemployment. Foreclosures. High crime rate. Blight. Corruption. Racism. A spot at the top of every “Worst” list imaginable. Yet the ability to enjoy life and do well for oneself amid all the challenges is a point of pride for Memphians. We see it as a hustle. I understand that’s what the message of this T-shirt is supposed to be, but most of the folks I see wearing it are so insulated from any of the real problems the image represents because, like me, they are young middle-class whites.
So how do you explain that so-called irony and that bootstraps attitude to an outsider who already views Memphis as a pit of despair? Seems the gun on your shirt isn’t doing much to help our reputation.